Queensland Natural History Award 2016 – Lewis Roberts

The Queensland Natural History Award is presented annually by the Queensland Naturalists’ Club Inc. to give recognition to people who have made outstanding contributions to natural history in Queensland. It has been awarded since 1992.

The award consists of a medallion featuring the Bunya Pine tree and is set in a polished block of Bunya Pine wood. The Bunya Pine Araucaria bidwillii is endemic to Queensland and is the symbol of the Club.

Lewis Roberts receiving award from James HansenThis award for 2016 recognises the outstanding contribution made over several decades to natural history in Queensland by Mr. Lewis John Roberts of Shipton’s Flat, near Mount Finnegan about 50 kilometres south of Cooktown.

Lewis Roberts received the award from the QNC president James Hansen.

Lewis has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the plants and animals of north Queensland. He has assisted many Australian and international botanists and zoologists during their visits to north Queensland by locating the species for which they were searching.

He is very highly regarded for his powers of observation, description and illustration.

His collections of specimens are lodged in the Queensland Museum and other institutions.

Specifically, I draw attention to his work in locating at least nine new species of orchid, one of which Cooktownia robertsii was named in his honour by David Jones in 1997.

A beetle (Apterotheca robertsi), blind snake (Ramphotyphlops robertsi),
bug (Ctenoneurus robertsi), cockroach (Shelfordina robertsi),
freshwater crayfish (Euastacus robertsi), land snail (Biomphalopa lewisrobertsis),
lizard (Saproscincus lewisi), spider (Carbinea robertsi) have been named in his honour and a spider (Aname robertsorum) and plant (shrub, Family Rutaceae) Zieria robertsorum have been named for the Roberts family.

Lewis co-authored the description of Lygisaurus malleolus (a small four fingered skink) with Patrick Couper from Queensland Museum. Lewis recognised it as a new species and told Patrick the characters that diagnosed it from its nearest congener.

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